An eagerly anticipated collection of images by photographer Henry Iddon, using a unique historic camera, is open at the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, Cumbria, until 12 May 2017 .
Henry’s work is an homage to the work of George and Ashley Abraham, brothers who grew up in Keswick in the Lake District in the late 1800s. The Abraham brothers were passionate early rock-climbers and were the first to take cameras up into the hills of the Lake District to capture landscapes and action shots of their climbing.
The camera that Henry used was on loan from The Wasdale Collection Ltd via the Mountain Heritage Trust, an organisation that aims to record and preserve Britain’s rich heritage in climbing, mountaineering and mountain culture, and is the very same camera that was used by the Abraham brothers. The exhibition features framed works as well as a Bespoke mural-sized wallpaper produced from an original scan by Genesis Imaging.
The Underwood Instanto whole plate camera that the Abrahams, and Henry, used, is made from solid mahogany, and is a heavy object. It uses 10”x12” glass plates, which have to be carried up the mountain alongside the camera and other equipment.
Iddon comments, “The idea is to remind people of the original photographic process, and how much effort went into something that today seems very simple. With mobile phone cameras and Instagram, photography has become something very immediate, something that is easy to do with little thought. Professional photographers can take thousands of photos on a shoot and later edit the best ones to make them perfect. That sort of technology wasn’t available to the Abraham brothers. Firstly, the camera and equipment were much, much bulkier and heavier than their modern-day counterparts. They had to be carried up some of England’s biggest mountains to get the necessary shots.
For me, after three years of bringing aspects of the project together and thanks to the support of Keswick Museum and Art Gallery and Arts Council England, it is really exciting to able to finally show these photos in the town where the Abraham brothers lived.
It is amazing to think that over 100 years ago rock-climbing was in its infancy and adventure sports photography’ was a phrase that had never been heard – yet with this camera, the Abraham brothers were instigating a whole new genre of photography. It’s a real privilege to take that process full circle and shoot the extreme sports of today with a camera that was doing the same thing in the late 1890s.”
Like the Abrahams brothers before him, Henry Iddon works with some of the world’s best climbers, including Shauna Coxsey, Leah Crane, Chris Fisher, Neil Gresham, Leo Houlding and Lisa Rands, as well as internationally renowned paraglide pilot Jocky Sanderson.
Instanto Outdoors Exhibition:
14 January – 12 May 2017